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General Nutrition Centers, Inc.
Type Private
Founded 1935
Founder(s) David Shakarian
Headquarters Flag of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.svg Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Key people Joseph Fortunato, CEO; Beth Kaplan, President
Industry Retail
Products Nutritional supplements
Revenue $1.42 Billion (2004)
Website www.gnc.com

General Nutrition Centers or GNC is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based American commercial enterprise focusing on the retail sale of health and nutrition related products, over the counter drugs, and foods/food supplements worldwide through GNC branded stores.

Contents

History

In 1935, David Shakarian opened a small health food store, Lackzoom, in downtown Pittsburgh. He only made USD $35 on his first day, but was able to open a second store within six months. A year later, Shakarian suffered what appeared to be a fatal blow when the Ohio River flooded on St. Patrick's Day. Both of his stores were wiped out. However, he quickly rebuilt both stores, and opened five more by 1941.

During the health food craze of the 1960s, Shakarian expanded his chain outside Pittsburgh for the first time, and in the process changed its name to General Nutrition Center. He continued to run the chain until his death in 1984.

Retail stores

GNC stores will typically stock a wide range of weight loss, bodybuilding and nutritional supplements, in both their own numerous in-house brands as well as third party name brands. In addition to health and fitness books, magazines and related tools. The company also stocks vitamins, natural remedies, and health and beauty products.

GNC has over 6,000 stores in the US (including 1,100 store-within-a-store locations within Rite Aid) as well as locations in 49 other countries. [1]

GNC LiveWell in Australia currently has 41 Stores located in Brisbane (Queensland), Sydney (New South Wales) and Melbourne (Victoria). Most of these stores have taken a major rebrand in January 2007, following the opening of es have also come under dismay from HealthyLife and GoVita, which have similar based stores in the same shopping center.

The major rebrand has taken a new approach to merchandising with front glass display cabinets featuring LCD Plasma Televisions displaying specials and products, and inviting customers into the store for free samples or fridges for cold beverages towards the back, and a centrally located point of sale desk.

Business model

GNC retail stores are both a combination of corporate-owned and franchised stores; 1,300 of the 5,000 domestic US stores are franchises, commonly located within urban shopping malls and shopping zones. In 1999, drugstore.com became the Exclusive Retailer on the Web of GNC Brand Products. General Nutrition Centers (GNC) opened a "store-within-a-store" on drugstore.com.[1]

Lawsuits

In 1998 GNC corporate was accused of running other franchisees out of business on purpose so corporate can "retake" the store into their control [2].

August 22, 2001 article talks about GNC being sued by franchise owners due to GNC opening their corporate stores incredibly close to existing franchise stores stealing their business [3].

In an April 30, 2003 article it states that the GNC corporate company was sued by numerous franchise owners [4]. The complaint is that the parent company was allowing their corporate owned stores to sell products for less than the franchise stores are allowed to sell them for. The suit also claimed that GNC charged high "reset fees" to franchisees when there is new signage that needs to be changed in the store or an image facelift that must be done by GNC corporate.

A similar lawsuit was filed again in an article written on October 20, 2004 [5]

References

External links

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